One of Australia’s largest food companies Goodman Fielder has accepted a sweetened $1.
37 billion dollar takeover offer from two Asian firms.
Sydney-based Goodman Fielder, which makes and sells bread, biscuits, sauces, spreads and oils, had been given a deadline of 2000 AEST on Friday to support the bid and open its books to due diligence.
The company’s board met on Friday to consider the new bid from Singapore-listed Wilmar, the world’s biggest palm oil processor, and Hong Kong investment firm First Pacific.
Goodman Fielder released an after-market statement saying that in the absence of a superior proposal, the board will unanimously recommend that Goodman shareholders vote in favour of the revised offer.
Goodman Fielder’s major shareholders Perpetual and Ellerston Capital had increased pressure on the board, agreeing to sell nearly half of their stakes to the Singapore-Hong Kong consortium subject to the bid being approved.
That would give Wilmar and First Pacific a 19.9 per cent stake.
The company, which owns iconic brands such as Helga’s, MeadowLea, Vogel’s and Olive Grove, rejected an initial $1.27 billion takeover offer as too low.
The offer has now been raised from 65 cents a share to 70 cents plus a one cent dividend.
That is a 33 per cent premium to the 52.5 cents it traded at before the first offer on April 23.
The companies said they would go no higher.
Morningstar analyst Peter Rae said he thought it was a good offer that was above his fair value estimate of 50 cents a share.
“I tend to think if the shareholders are behind it they have to support it,” he told AAP.
Shares in the company plunged more than 18 per cent in a day on April 2, following a profit downgrade and flagging of writedowns and job cuts and it posted a half year net loss of $65 million in February.
The attraction for the suitors is to expose the company to high growth Asian markets.
Shares in Goodman Fielder fell 1.1 per cent to 66.5 cents on Friday.